Hoarder tried to heal heartache by buying clothes as she ‘had no one to talk to’
A shopaholic didn’t realise how much she was hoarding until workmen came to look at her boiler.
Janice, Liverpool, was horrified that a surveyor couldn’t work due to the clutter.
She said: “I hadn’t noticed all the stuff, the piles of it. It was only when the surveyor came to put the new boiler in and said all my stuff would have to be cleared … that’s how I found out.”
The 65-year-old decided to call in the professionals to tackle her three-bedroom home, Liverpool Echo reports.
She sought the help of extreme cleaner George Mensah, whose team at Merseyside House Clearance specialise in clearing hoarders’ houses.
The transformation was documented on Channel 5 show Hoarders: Junk Apocalypse, which airs tonight at 9pm.
Janice was her mum’s main carer for 15 years, and in that time she lost touch with all of her friends.
But when her mum died 20 years ago, Janice began to compulsively buy clothes to combat her loneliness.
Her favourite shop is Shush in Liverpool city centre, where she bought an unending supply of tops and trousers – many of which were worn, before joining the piles around her home.
Janice said: “I think that’s why I started hoarding in the first place because I didn’t have anyone to talk to – I replaced them with clothes.
“When I went down to the supermarket, people talk to you and that’s where I got the bug to go.
“I saw a sale sign, so I just bought, but I could never throw anything away, it would go on the pile. Then I would go back to the shops the next day, and the next day and I just kept going.”
Cleaner George was on hand to help Janice – and says her situation isn’t actually that unusual.
He said: "To us Janice’s hoard was nothing special, we have dealt with some very severe cases, and once I explained that to Jan it made her feel much better.
“Jan was really engaging, you get a lot of hoarders who do not want to engage, but Jan was an inspiration because she helped us – it wasn’t just us going in and taking stuff, she had things ready in piles. She cured herself, so much so that we use Jan to explain the situation to other people … if they can take the path of Jan, then it’s the right road to take.”
Janice began sorting through her mounds of clothes, household items and broken furniture stacking piles for George and his team to take away.
She said: “I went through absolutely everything, and I bagged everything myself. I felt I was getting therapy going through my possessions, and I was also making sure that everything I wanted to go was going.
“I learnt a lot about myself, and it taught me that I don’t need all this and each thing I put in the bags … it was like closure. Closure for the heartache of losing my mum, it was very emotional but necessary for me to move on to the next chapter.”
Now Janice has her home back, she is looking forward to a brighter future.
She said: “The space is brilliant, and you can breathe better. I used to trip over everything and could never understand why, but actually the little path I had to get through the rooms wasn’t wide enough so I kept tripping over things – and I don’t do that now.
“When I had nearly everything cleared, I used to go to the supermarket and walk up and down the aisles and just say ‘no, I’ve got one of those, and I have one of those’.
“I don’t buy any clothes now, any I’ve got I wear.”
George’s advice to anyone who watches the show and recognises their own situation is to seek help.
He said: “Janice was one of the people who came forward. There are a lot of people out there who don’t know where to turn, they either feel embarrassed or just don’t know where to go.
“We have to break that taboo and say ‘we understand’, we’re not going to laugh at you, we’re not going to condemn you – you won’t be judged.
“Jan coming forward and saying she had a problem was the first step, but a lot of people won’t do that.”
Janice added: “Every aspect of my life has changed, and for the better.”
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